June 17, 2024

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Urgent Concerns Regarding E.U. Decision on GMO Deregulation

More than 500 North American farmers, manufacturers, retailers and shoppers join the Non-GMO Project to urge the E.U. to keep strong oversight of new GMOs

The European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety (ENVI) is advancing a proposal to deregulate GMO production in Europe. There is significant support for the proposal from some ministers and biotechnology developers. The proposal will be put to a plenary vote on February 6.  

This is highly concerning to the natural products industry. If the proposal passes, the majority of new GMOs created through powerful technologies like CRISPR could enter the food system untracked, untested, unregulated, and unlabeled. This is a striking reversal of the E.U.’s longstanding commitment to protecting the global non-GMO food supply. It would undermine shoppers’ rights to know what’s in their food and to avoid GMOs. The E.U. produces about a fifth of the global food supply.

Shoppers in Europe and North America overwhelmingly support transparency and their right to make informed choices. Many avoid GMOs to support a more natural, regenerative, organic food system. Advances in non-GMO, organic, and regenerative food production, often informed by deep indigenous knowledge, have proven to be powerful tools in creating a more resilient food system that can slow, stop, and potentially reverse climate change — without the need to genetically engineer the building blocks of life.

Outside of the natural products industry, genetic engineering is increasingly used in tandem with artificial intelligence. We need to place serious safeguards and regulatory oversight on their use, given their multiple risks and misguided benefit claims. These technologies short-circuit nature and artificially create novel forms of life for human consumption. Without regulatory oversight, we will drastically limit our ability to identify and contain emergent social, environmental or economic risks associated with GMOs.

The Non-GMO Project is responding to the imminent plenary vote in the E.U. parliament by circulating a public sign-on letter that will be submitted to E.U. Parliament Ministers. Farmers, shoppers, brands, retailers, and others throughout the North American natural products sector can ask the E.U. Parliament to delay this vote and do more to protect non-GMO and organic food networks from unwanted new GMOs.

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